Cats are fastidious by nature and in my experience, require little work on the way of toilet training as most kittens are already litter trained by the time they come to their new home. Their mother plays a large role in this, training her kittens from an early age.
Starting on the right foot with your kitten is by far the best practice. Preventing bad habits developing will save you both a lot of anxiety.
Ways to help encourage litter tray usage include:
- Providing your kitten with an appropriately sized litter tray. Kittens are small, and should be started with a smaller tray with lower sides, making it easier to climb in and out of.
- When your kitten comes home, keep him confined to just one or two rooms for a few days so he is not overwhelmed. Keeping the litter tray close by will help reinforce good toileting habits.
- Don’t place litter trays in either very high traffic areas or hard to find spots. It should be placed close to his bed, so he can easily find it when he’s woken from a sleep. Never place food bowls close to your kitten’s food. They don’t like to toilet where they eat.
- Immediately after your kitten has eaten or had a nap, place him in the litter tray to encourage him to use the toilet.
- If your kitten does have an accident, do not punish him. This will have the opposite effect and will lead to further toileting issues down the track.
- In the event of an accident, clean the area well with white vinegar. Ammonia based products should never be used as they will encourage your kitten to go back to the spot.
- Make sure you clean out your kitten’s litter tray frequently. Read here for more information on cleaning litter trays.
Choosing the right litter for your kitten:
It is always a good idea to stick to the litter your kitten was using when he lived with his mother. If you would prefer to change to a different type of litter (for example from clay to crystals), do this gradually, over a few days by mixing in the new litter with the old. There are several types of cat litter including clay, clumping, crystals and recycled wood/paper pellets. Clumping litter should be avoided with kittens as they may eat it, which can lead to a blockage.
With a little forethought, litter training your kitten should be a relatively easy process for both you and the kitten. Avoiding common mistakes will go a long way.